It’s that time of the year when the Oscar contenders come out to play! Alejandro Iñárritu (Birdman) returns to the Oscar race with The Revenant, a display of beautiful cinematography, and a whole lot of grim.
So is it any good?
but you may hate it. Humourless, and tense, The Revenant is a cinematic experience that while I’d recommend seeing, it’s not an enjoyable flick. The film stars Leonardo Di Caprio as Hugh Glass, a notable guide who is hired to assist a fur trapping expedition on the American frontier. After being mauled by a grizzly bear and left for dead, Hugh battles both his injuries and the elements to enact revenge on those who left him. This is a brutal film that only certain audiences will have the stomach for.
Leonardo Di Caprio’s performance is silent for the majority of the picture, but sells the intentions of the character through his eyes well. This is a character that goes through hell, and Leonard looks and acts the part. Tom Hardy (Mad Max: Fury Road) is fantastic as Fitzgerald, crafting a truly despicable villain, and probably the best character in the film. Domhnall Gleeson (About Time) and Will Poulter (We’re the Millers) both do good work with what they are given. Gleeson’s captain brings a real sense of humanity to the proceedings, which is a nice change from the barbaric actions of the leads.
There are some fantastic sequence’s scattered throughout the film, including a brutally violent opening as the fur trappers are attacked by Native American’s, and the aforementioned bear attack sequence which has been making the news rounds this week. This is a beautifully shot movie, truly highlighting the wilderness and elements on display here. The white, winter backdrop provides a hauntingly beautiful landscape which is somewhat representative of the cold characters. The technical achievements by cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki are boundless and he deserves all the accolades that will inevitably be given to him.
With that being said, there are still a ton of things I didn’t like about the movie. Whilst there is a lot of talk of a best actor nod for Leonardo, his performance is so one dimensional, that it’s hard to understand why this movie and not anything else he’s done. His character work here is truly just ‘out for revenge’, and not much more. As good as Tom Hardy is in his role, his accent is almost Bane levels of mumbling that its sometimes hard to follow. The film runs a little long, the score has no depth and there is just one too many documentary shots of the wilderness, that whilst beautiful, really don’t do anything to move the story forward.
I honestly had a real hard time reviewing The Revenant. I walked out of the theatre not enjoying the film. This is a movie filled with unlikable leads, and unrelenting wilderness. I understand not every movie can be sunshine and rainbows, but this was just a little too much for me. I was originally going to not recommend but the technical merits in cinematography, along with Hardy’s performance make it worth a watch for those who can deal with two and a half hours of this tense, violent and bleak drama.